Muscogee County School Board meeting gets heated

Muscogee County School Board meeting gets heated

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - There were tense moments during Monday night's Muscogee County School Board meeting as members discussed items pertaining to money and how the superintendent makes decisions on purchases.

One item that struck a chord was a proposal to reduce the superintendent's $15,000 spending limit. Dr. David Lewis is currently allowed to approve the purchase of items for the district without the board's approval on items less than $15,000.

School board member John Thomas says his proposal was not to say the superintendent has a slush fund to spend whenever he would like but to increase accountability and transparency.

He asked for the spending limit to be reduced to $5,000 for the expenses to be made public and to put this information online.

"This is a big organization and there are a lot of situations that occur during a day, a week and a month, and $15,000 is a modest for a school system our size," Lewis said.

This action on the agenda was voted down six to three.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson made a special presentation outlining the sunset proposal to thaw the property tax freeze, basically eliminating the tax freeze on a property when the house changes hands through a sale or the owner dies.

"We have control over this and I hope the citizens will have the opportunity to vote on it for the first time in 25 years," Mayor Tomlinson said.

Mayor Tomlinson says for this question to be added to the November 2016 ballot, the Georgia Legislature must allow it.

Chairman Rob Varner explained this is important for equality across the community as the school district is 60 percent involved in the tax system.

New policies on suicide prevention and cyber bullying, especially as it relates to students electronic devices, were approved but the proposal to reimburse parents for school supplies was not approved at Monday's meeting. 

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